From farm1.staticflickr.comJ. K. Rowling has channelled some amazing words and messages through the ever omniscient Albus Dumbledore, the world’s favourite and most benign of wizards throughout the ages of literature. His words have been sources of inspiration, of motivation, of truth, of sense and of humour. No matter what he speaks, we are magically bound to believe in them. In fact, the more ludicrous, nonsensical or riddle-like his quotes can be, the more I seem to believe in him. Dumbledore didn’t let me down in seven books, and still is as much loved as the first day I met him, laying Harry down at 4 Privet drive, having no idea what the next ten years and seven books were going to inspire in me. If you still aren’t quite coping with the fact that there will never again be another Potter book a film equivalent, here are some wise words from the man himself, who will surely get you through this dark and troublesome time…
“Tell me one last thing“, said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” - Deathly Hallows
Not only is this food for thought for our protagonist as he experiences a state somewhere between life and death, but this is also intended for us to ponder. This is so cleverly devised by Rowling that this has to be my favourite Dumbledore quote of all. Rowling emphasises that Dumbledore's words are really for the reader. The journey that you have embarked on with Harry, right to the very close, is absolutely real and meaningful, even although it has been read from her pages, therefore taking place inside your head; your own imagination. This fits aptly and are important words for Harry to hear at this critical point in his quest. But they are equally, if not more so, important for us. Rowling wishes reinforce that even although you did not physiacally experience the adventures, they were as real as anything else that we emotionally expeirence. Rowling honours this for our commitemnt, following all the way to the last few pages.
“Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” - Philosopher’s Stone
Before the very first Hogwarts feast, Dumbledore takes the phrase “I’d like to say a few words” quite literally and simply adresses the Great Hall with seemingly unrelated nonsensical words. In four words, we are introduced to the eccentricity of Dumbledore, the sense that he is approachable and that he is suggesting that Hogwarts is a place that you can fully be yourself. We don’t know whether to laugh, be confused or applaud. But we know one thing, we already like this guy.
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live” - Philosopher’s
As Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised, which shows your heart's deepest desire (‘Erised’ is ‘desire’ spelt backwards), he sees the family he has never known surrounding him. Harry returns night after night to stare into the depths of the mirror. Dumbledore imparts some wise words and warns Harry that the mirror does not give us knowledge, nor truth, and has driven many men man from what lies unreachable within it. Dumbledore reminds us to not dwell on dreams. The longer you spend longing after unreachable goals and desires, the more opportunities and doors will close themselves off to us forever. Live your life everyday the way you want to, and stop dreaming about living it. Life isn’t going to wait for you.
“To the well organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.” - Philosopher’s stone.
As Dumbledore explains to Harry that the Philosopher’s Stone has been detroyed, meaning that its owner will die, Harry is incredulous at this news, not able to comprehend how somebody could accept their own death willingly. This not only foreshadows the last few chapters of the very final book, where Harry in fact accepts his death and states “I am ready to die” in order to do his part to ensure there will be a world without Voldemort. Harry may not realise it yet, but the mind can accept death, and death has no need to be as frightening as many imagine. It is the unknown we are scared of. For all we know, what we find in death may be greater than life itself.
“You fail to recognise that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” - Goblet of Fire
The stigma of race, class and in this case, blood purity is touched upon. Dumbledore states the obvious moral which many in the wizarding world fail to learn; where you come from is of little importance and does not define who you are. It is through your actions, learning and experiences which mould you. You are in control of what kind of person you will evolve to be, and nobody else can be accountable for that. And it will bode well for all of us to remember this, not only for ourselves, but for when we look at other people.
“Alas! Ear wax!” - Philosopher’s Stone
A quote which still makes me smile warmly at any re-reading or re-watching of the book and film. After many, many years, Dumbledore braves a single bit of one of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans. These beans are manufactured in literally any flavour thinkable. Unfortunate enough in his youth to discover a vomit flavoured one, he sharply lost his liking of them. Thinking he was safe with a nice toffee, his calm reaction and nonchalant demeanour on chewing away at ear wax is a golden moment and so very Dumbledore.
“In the light of Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” - Goblet of Fire
A clear message: stand together we are strong. Fail to do and be prepared to fail. Sometimes the human race becomes inexplicably hostile towards those who are different to them. Sometimes we build an image of someone in our head, and we do not even know them. This does not make you a strong, nor good person. You will in fact make yourself a better person by going through life with an open and welcoming attitude. You will gain far more knowledge and self-esteem by taking this path.
“There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” - Philosopher’s Stone
Can you think of a time where you told your friend really what they did that was getting you down? Did you just dust is away and try to forget, hoping that it would never come up again? We should respect friends enough to tell them when something is not right. How on earth will issues be sorted other wise? In fact, sometimes it can be easier to stand up to an enemy or someone you barely know. It is the fear of what will happen, because it is someone you are emotionally attached to that makes it all the more difficult. Honour your friends and be truthful, stand up for what you believe in and be stick to who you are, not who your friend is.
“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.” -Deathly Hallows
One of these quotes that send a tingle through my body just thinking about it. A truly inspirational and deep thought. We should not feel woeful for people who have gone, it is fruitless to waste out our living days not wanting to live at all. Most of all, we should appreciate the ones we love in life above everything else, and we should pity, not hate, the people that live an empty life void of emotion and love.
Photograph with credit to Elia